Master plan created for Peoples Park

New pickleball courts, playground, skate park and more on master plan concept. While no improvements are being made at this time, or in the near future, the plan is there for future guidance.

Peoples Park master plan.jpg
RDG Planning & Design created the master plan for Peoples Park with insight from the Park Board.
Contributed / RDG Planning & Design

DETROIT LAKES — A glimpse into the future of Peoples Park was provided at a Detroit Lakes City Council work session on Wednesday, April 19.

During the meeting, the council learned the Detroit Lakes Park Board was put to the task of creating a long-term master plan for the heavily used park that features athletic courts and green space for gatherings.

Just because a plan was made, does not mean work is scheduled, emphasized City Administrator Kelcey Klemm. He explained the plan was created in case a group approaches the city and has fundraising plans for specific improvements or expansions of equipment within the park. Having a vision of future growth would make the process easier for the city and potential groups, he noted.

RDG Planning & Design created the master plan with insight from the Park Board. Klemm said RDG was in town working on a plan for the Pavilion project at City Park when they were put to the task of creating a master plan for Peoples Park as well.

Peoples Park offers 7.1 acres and is located along People Street. It is divided in half by Phinney Avenue, which is less of a street and more of a parking lot. Alderman Dan Josephson suggested the street become a one-way or require back-in parking to make it safer.


On the west side of Phinney Avenue is where the hockey and skating rink is located, along with a warming house. That section of park also offers a skateboard park.

Cary Thomsen, a landscape architect for RDG, said the ice skating facilities would remain as is, according to the master plan.

The skate park was recommended for complete transformation using concrete forms. Thomsen explained the current skate park amenities are made of “high maintenance” materials that require bolts and that can rust. The concrete forms would require less maintenance and be more aesthetically pleasing, he said.

The master plan also calls for the fence around the skate park to be removed, which Alderman Matt Boeke favored. He said removing the fence changed the skate park's appearance, as it no longer would look like a “juvenile jail.”

More additions to the west side of Peoples Park included moving the playground area to the west side and installing new equipment. Thomsen said the change in location was recommended to bring the playground closer to the restrooms and the parking lot.

The master plan also called for a new walking path that would have portions in the west and east side of the park. Thomsen said other than the sidewalks bordering the park, there were no paths, so those were added to the conceptual plan.

On the east side of Phinney Avenue a new set of three pickleball courts were added, as well as a new large shelter and smaller picnic shelters. The facility also retained its existing volleyball court and basketball court.

While the master plan for People’s Park was created as a plan only, a few aldermen suggested the next focal point for actual park work should be on the north side of town.

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